Ah, luxury!

Ingredients

  • 12 rock oysters
  • For the Batter:
  • 5fl.oz (150ml) self-raising flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 8fl.oz (225ml) beer
  • For the Tabasco and Lime Mayonnaise:
  • 4fl.oz (110ml) mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • Juice of half a lime

Method

  • First make the batter. Place the flour and the salt in a bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the beer. Using a whisk, mix the mixture vigorously, drawing in the flour from the sides. Keep whisking until the batter is free of any lumps. Set aside to rest while you prepare the remaining parts of the dish. The batter can sit, covered in the fridge for up to 6 hours.
  • Next make the Tabasco and Lime Mayonnaise by simply mixing all the ingredients together. Season to taste.
  • Now it's time to open the oysters. It is best to use an oyster knife, which is designed for the purpose and will make your life much easier (and safer). If you don't have an oyster knife, you can use a thin chisel, but do not attempt to open oysters with any knife that has a bendy blade.
  • Fold a tea towel lengthwise and wrap it around your hand once or twice to protect yourself from the knife in case of slippage. Place the oyster on the remaining edge of the towel, with the flatter side of the oyster facing up and your hand over the rounded end of the shell. The narrow pointy end of the oyster should be facing out. You will see a slight crevice where the shells meet at the narrow end.
  • Take your oyster knife (or thin clean chisel) and insert the blade into the crevice while holding the opposite end steady with your wrapped hand. Press and turn the knife, levering upwards. Once the shell pops open, insert a clean knife just under the shell to cut the oyster away - it will suddenly free.
  • Cut the membrane where the oyster is attached to the shell and remove the oyster, discarding any bits of broken shell. Open all the oysters in the same way and place on kitchen paper in the fridge until you are ready to deep fry them. They can be stored, covered in the fridge for up to 3 hours. I like to use the shells to serve the oysters (they also make a nice 'bowl' for sea salt, pepper or butter!) so if you want to use them, wash and dry the shells well.
  • To deep fry the oysters you can either use a deep fryer full of oil (a tasteless oil such as sunflower oil) preheated to 200C or you can put some oil into a saucepan so that it is at least 4cm deep. Heat the oil and either use a thermometer to check that it's at 200C, or you can check to see if the oil is hot by taking a tiny piece of bread and dropping it into the oil. If the oil is hot enough to deep fry the oysters the bread will bubble up to the surface of the oil and turn golden quite quickly.
  • When you're ready to cook the oysters take each oyster and dip into the batter, allowing the excess batter to drip off back into the bowl. Place the oysters into the oil and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, then drain on kitchen paper.
  • Serve the oysters immediately with the Tabasco and Lime Mayonnaise.